Thursday , June 13 2024

Việt Nam needs a “captain” for tourism communication


Chairman of the Việt Nam Tourism Association Vũ Thế Bình. — VNA/VNS Photo

The media has played an essential role in helping domestic and foreign tourists better understand the tourism industry, spreading the country’s beautiful image and people of Việt Nam, and supporting the Vietnamese tourism industry to improve its shortcomings.

However, the tourism industry needs a “captain” for communication to ensure sustainable development. Việt Nam News spoke to the Chairman of the Việt Nam Tourism Association Vũ Thế Bình, who has worked in the smokeless industry for over 50 years on this issue. 

Fluctuations in world tourism will constantly affect Việt Nam’s policies. Thus, Việt Nam needs to advertise its tourism policies. How do you evaluate the tourism communication in Việt Nam?

After the COVID-19 pandemic, tourism has been changing significantly, from the government’s policies to transforming Vietnamese businesses to opening new tourist destinations. But the final issue is to bring further awareness to society about tourism. So the task of those working in tourism communication is critical.

However, the tourism communication work of Việt Nam is not coordinated and thus fails to produce a strong spillover effect, reducing the impact and influence of general policies.

For example, the new visa policy, which approved the extension of tourist e-visas from 30 to 90 days, is a very positive, resulting in significant benefits. However, we need to understand that each policy cannot have an immediate impact. There must be a process of preparation, communication, and spreading its positive influences to the domestic and foreign communities. 

Some people believe that policies must have an immediate impact, while others do not believe that policies will bring benefits. Therefore, it is necessary to use the media to link social forces and economic organisations together to promote tourism development.

Tourism is a sector that links industries together. So, without the support of industries, levels, and localities, how can tourism develop? Sometimes, we understand tourism as an independent industry. Still, other times, it is a dependent industry that we can not take full of its potential without a unified direction in communication. This is also the weakness of tourism communication.

I think journalists and media agencies should work together to advertise Việt Nam’s tourism activities to the community, thus helping facilitate the sector’s recovery and ensure its fast development to catch up with other countries in the region gradually.

There is a view that the tourism communication work of Việt Nam is lagging despite being ahead of the curve or being predictive. What do you think about this opinion?

This is correct because Việt Nam’s tourism communication works are prolonged. Sometimes, the media talks about negative issues more than positive ones. It would be much better if the media could find the opposing side and suggest ways to overcome it while highlighting the positive and typical aspects to set an example.

Tourism is an economic sector but contains a very high cultural element. Positive communication needs to be prioritised to help promote tourism activities and encourage businesses and people to team up to develop the smokeless sector. 

Many countries have great tours that are much cheaper than Việt Nam’s because they know how to share benefits among business groups and services and even share difficulties, while we can’t do that. Many years ago, the tourism industry also discussed this, but ultimately, it could not be done.

This is because we cannot connect and are not attached to specific tasks. Up to now, the tourism industry is still struggling with having vital stimulus programmes and attractive promotions to lure visitors. Promotion here does not mean reducing prices but improving service quality and making customers feel satisfied with the money they spend as they are provided with the best quality services.

We still know that connection is difficult, so we hope that media agencies will try to promote positive factors and create closer relationships so Vietnamese people understand that we should feel ashamed if they cannot connect. In a country with a rich culture and a long tradition, why can not join hands to promote better tourism?

The tourism communication works of Việt Nam are mainly about general policies or the number of visitors and lack of information about policies of localities and destinations. So, in your opinion, what should localities across the country do to promote communication works to enhance the attractiveness of destinations?

Localities still have to do a lot of work because tourism development mainly depends on localities’ efforts. Local government agencies will play a vital role because they directly manage tourist destinations and support people and tourism businesses in their areas. Their tourism sectors could not develop without their sufficient attention to communication.  

Therefore, the communication works must go straight to specific and detailed issues in the tourism activities of each locality. Besides the strengths and limitations, we also need to introduce local tourism support policies to tourists.

Among the 63 localities nationwide, some provinces have drawn up effective policies. For example, the central province of Bình Định has supported businesses participating in domestic and foreign promotion programmes. Each business is granted VNĐ30 million (nearly US$1,240) for each trip.

Meanwhile, the People’s Council of northern Bắc Giang province has issued a new resolution on supporting tourism development. That has outlined detailed and specific regulations for community tourism villages, homestays, and tourist attractions.

Localities can develop tourism only when they have very specific, clear, and easy-to-implement policies. — VNS

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